As you’re planning to apply to Harris, you may already be thinking about your outcomes after graduation. We’re happy to share the following benefits, experiences, and outcomes for the Master of Arts in Public Policy with Certificate in Research Methods (MACRM) program.

Benefits of MACRM

  • Harris PhD-level courses which transfer into Harris’ PhD program (if admitted)
  • Only 15 months long, running from September to the following December
  • Intentional 15 month timeframe aligns with PhD application process
  • Hands-on experience working as a research apprentice on a research project during the summer, and for 10 hours a week during two academic quarters
  • Mathematical Methods for PhD and MACRM Students - quantitative refresher course available before the program starts
  • Funding opportunities through teaching assistant positions
  • Cohort of approximately 30 students for individualized research opportunities and discussions

What to Expect

MACRM students can generally expect a rigorous, hands-on program with an emphasis on mathematics and data. According to Christopher Blattman, Ramalee E. Pearson Professor of Global Conflict Studies, “I have graduate students working on a few different projects: a meta-analysis of the conflict literature; machine learning methods to predict local violence and crime; field experiments in policing and crime reduction; mapping and modeling gangs and criminal organization in Medellin; and globally scaling up and testing promising interventions such as cash transfers for poverty relief, or cognitive behavior therapy for reducing violence—including some ambitious experiments.”

Read some of the MACRM Harris student profiles below to get an idea of the student experience and interests.

  • Student Profile: Bryant Cong, MACRM'22 – Cong focused on the intersection of math and international affairs. His research experiences at the University of Southern California on Chinese lobbying and in Australian on humanitarian aid demonstrated to him the importance of data to international development. The MACRM was his top choice due to its heavy focus on technical skills, and he is hoping to research development in post-conflict settings.
  • Student Profile: Alex Gordon, MACRM'22 – Gordon's experience as a substitute teacher in Chicago demonstrated to him the severe shortage of full-time teachers and subs in the city. However, he was shocked to find a lack of research on the topic, in spite of its pressing importance. As an MACRM student, he is focusing on determining the causes and finding solutions for this shortage. "I’m motivated to do research that is immediately and practically beneficial, and Harris and the MACRM program are grounded in that mission as well."
  • Student Q&A: PhD Candidate Mariella Gonzales, MACRM '16 – Prior to attending University of Chicago, Gonzales worked for APOYO Consultoria, a consulting company, and the Ministry of Transportation and Communication in Peru.  While working for the government, she realized that she needed to develop more technical skills to implement high-level policy decisions. She was an MACRM student and is now a PhD candidate at Harris. Her job market paper studies whether politicians respond strategically when confronted with potential electoral backlash from transparency initiatives that reveal political malfeasance to the public.


Graduation Outcomes

The MACRM program was designed to be a stepping stone into either PhD programs or academic research jobs. As intended, many of our graduates end up in PhD programs or research roles. The amount of PhD students coming out of the MACRM program has increased every year.

Recent MACRM graduates have been admitted into PhD programs outside of Harris, including Yale, MIT, Stanford, NYU Wagner, University of Maryland, University of Pittsburgh, and University of Rochester. Programs varied from economics, political science, and various public policy programs.

Students who did not immediately pursue PhD programs after the MACRM program entered research assistant/fellow roles at places like the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy, Booth School of Business, Energy and Policy Institute at the University of Chicago (EPIC), Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning, J-Pal, Athena Infonomics, and more.